There are various social and personal causes that force people to commit suicide; however, depression appears to be a key factor. Suicidal people suppose killing themselves as a way to escape an unpleasant situation and the sense of despair and hopelessness. Still, the fact is that about two thirds of those who attempt suicide do not really mean to kill themselves but to attract attention and alert about their critical condition. The causes of suicide were always a subject of interest to different professionals and specialists. For example, sociologists have differentiated several types of suicides regarding the circumstances that forced people to resort to such an action. From the psychological standpoint, depression used to be seen as the hostility not towards the situation or surrounding people but to a person itself. However, the modern studies regard a suicide attempt as a way to attract attention or punish others by making them feeling guilty. Besides, a suicide is often associated with the psychiatric disorders such as mood disorders and depression. The paper examines depression and other circumstances that usually lead to suicide attempts. Additionally, the risk factors and warning signs of suicidal intent are outlined in the paper. Finally, the ways of how to alleviate depression syndrome and prevent someone from committing suicide are described.
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Every day, millions of people in the world attempt suicide, a large number of which will have the fatal outcome. Their intentions to kill themselves emerge from a range of factors. Current researchers focus mainly upon the social and psychological factors but also consider the potential importance of biological contributions (Vahia, Sonavane, Gandhi & Vahia, 2000). Still, according to the numerous researches, more than 80 percent of people committing suicides have psychiatric disorders even though it may be not recognized or noticed in time. Mood disorder or depression, which is common in 6o percent of suicide cases, appears to be the most frequent disorder (Barlow & Durand, 2011). Frequently, mood disorders combine with other issues such as substance abuse.
Intentions to suicide actually stem from the suicidal thoughts and then progress into the suicide threats, which may later lead to the suicide attempts (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). People start having such kind of thoughts when being depressed and frustrated due to some reasons. Usually, depression stems from different personal and social circumstances. Those are often related to the negative life events and stressful experiences such as the loss of a prestigious job and high social standing, loss of social support, failed romantic relationship or other circumstances. In such cases, an individual may feel helpless and unable to change the situation. Therefore, suicidal people regard a suicide as the last chance to escape an unpleasant situation and a sense of despair. The thing is that people are not able to make sensible and rational decisions when being in a state of severe depression.
However, there are a number of other factors that may cause people to attempt suicide. For example, people suffering from a psychosis may commit suicide. They often claim to hear the inner voices that command them to kill themselves (Lickerman, 2010). Besides, people addicted to alcohol or drugs are prone to make impulsive attempts to end their lives. They usually calm down when becoming sober; however, the possibility of their future suicide attempts is unpredictable as it may happen the next time they will be drunk or high. In some cases, people may come to a reasoned decision to commit suicide. For instance, some deadly ill people resort to suicide to escape the painful existence. One more cause of suicides is a simple mistake. Particularly, it relates to the young people who may playfully practice such things as oxygen deprivation, which may result in death.
It was discovered that many people attempting suicide did not mean to die but to attract someone’s attention and alert their critical condition (Lickerman, 2010). Therefore, they often opt for the methods they believe are not deadly. Nevertheless, being often misinformed and ignorant about their actions, people unintentionally do actions that lead to their death. Such a behavior is typical for the teenagers who are experiencing a hard time at school or in family.
Risk Factors and Warning Signs
Commonly, there are various warning signs that may signal someone’s intention to attempt a suicide. They include personality change, withdrawal from communication with others, sudden swings in the mood, aggression outbursts and reckless risk taking. Friends and family may also notice preoccupation with death; for example, the death imagery in a form of art such as pictures or poems (American Psychological Association, 2013). However, sometimes an individual may speak directly about the suicidal intentions. It is said that 8 out of every 10 potential suicides give announce of their intentions beforehand. Therefore, the popular belief that people who threaten suicide are rarely the ones who actually do it is an inept fallacy. A person threatening a suicide should be taken seriously and paid a particular attention. The warnings may also be done indirectly and give a hint of genuine intentions. For example, people intended to kill themselves often give out their prized possessions claiming they will not need it anymore.
Suicides are usually committed by people who are experiencing recent occurrence of life crisis or emotional shock. At this time, they are likely to suffer from such conditions as depression or hopelessness. Hopelessness, which is identified by psychologists as the cognitive element of negative expectations, is regarded as a key component of depression syndrome, which is also the strongest suicidal intent indicator (Minkoff, Bergman, Beck & Beck, 1973). The thing is that an individual perceives him or herself as a burden to others and believes that his or her death will be a relief for others.
From the perspective of risk factors, men appear to be especially at risk as long as the suicide rate among men is nearly four times higher than the one among women. However, women are more prone to have suicidal thoughts, plans. In addition, the rate of suicide attempts is increasing among young people aged from 15 to 24. Among college students, suicide is a second leading cause of death. The thing is that going to college means a dramatic shift in life, which is often quite stressful. Therefore, many students confessed to experience depression and frustration since beginning a college, and some of them even considered committing suicide (Furr, Westefeld, McConnell & Jenkins, 2001).
Suicide Prevention Measures
Nowadays, numerous researches are conducted in order to identify the key causes of suicide attempts and how to cope with them. It is known that about two thirds of all suicides are attempted by people who do not actually want to die, and only in 3 to 5 percent of suicide cases people really mean to die (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). The thing is that people usually attempt to suicide when they are alone, depressed and unable to think rationally; therefore, they do not perceive the current situation objectively.
Depression, which is identified as a major cause of the suicide attempts, is treatable. In order to cope with it, a person needs to get an adequate psychological help. Firstly, the frustrated psychological needs should be identified. For example, people may suffer from the lack of love, attention or recognition. They may seek for friendship, security or sense of achievement, which would make their life more sustainable and reasonable. Therefore, establishing communication with a suicidal person is essential. Such people often feel misunderstood; therefore, they need to feel that someone needs them. In a period of rehabilitation, they should be offered support, acceptance, and legitimate caring.
Moreover, as long as many people resort to suicide to escape an unpleasant situation, they should be showed that suicide is not the only way to do that. Particularly, emotional pain and suffering is what a person wants to escape. Being depressed is a normal phenomenon unless it reaches the critical point and last for a long time. Suicide occurs when pain exceeds a person’s ability to cope with the stress and pain. Therefore, in order to reduce a possibility of a suicide attempt, the emotional pain should be reduced by any means. He or she should be shown other options to escape the situation; thus, the rescuer’s goal will be to broaden the suicidal person’s perspective (Coon & Mitterer, 2008).
Anyway, these measures cannot guarantee that any possibility of the suicide attempt will be excluded, but it will help to establish rapport with a suicidal person. However, even after some improvements are seen, the efforts should not be ended too soon. The improvement in mood and the general emotional state may be rather deceptive as the suicidal people may regard and perceive it as the anticipation of the end of suffering.
To conclude, depression is a key factor that contributes the most in the suicide attempts, even though there are a number of other reasons and circumstances forcing people to resort such an action. Depression itself may stem from some social and personal issues such as the negative life events or experiences. Recently, the rate of suicide attempts has increased, especially among young people. However, specialists identify various warning signs that may help to anticipate the suicide attempts.